It will be 11 years this fall since Pitt and Penn State met on the gridiron at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh. The Nittany Lions will finally get a chance to seek vengeance for their 12-0 loss in that matchup, however, as the wait for the rivalry to renew is finally over. The schools announced today they'll meet in a home-and-home series beginning in 2016 at Heinz Field.
Obviously, this comes as a pretty big surprise. When the topic of Pitt vs. Penn State came up last week, it was all about basketball as new Penn State coach Pat Chambers talked about renewing the hoops series in the near future. Few expected this.
Let's not call it "shocking," though, or start using any big fancy words to describe this news. Penn State was always going to get around to putting Pitt back on the schedule, it was just a matter of making things work financially. Apparently, Tim Curley liked what he saw about 2016 and 2017, so it happened. This wasn't about Joe Paterno, as some from the other side will have you believe. It was all about the money, and the money finally worked. Period.
From the point of view of a Western Pennsylvania kid, this is welcomed news. I was 10 the last time the two teams met and barely remember sitting frustrated in front of my TV watching the last game at Three Rivers. I've grown up with the silly "12-0!!!" taunts and gross media bias against Joe Paterno and Penn State, so this announcement A) Ends the "Joe Paterno is scared/bitter" thing, and B) Gives the Lions a chance to shut all those people up for good in five years.
I do recognize, however, that this probably isn't the biggest news for the rest of the fanbase, so I'm not going to go too crazy. After all, Penn State had was supposed to play Miami in 2016-2017 according to Cory Giger so that will likely put a damper on things for many.
The good news for those folks is Tim Curley spoke with 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh today, and Penn State isn't looking to make this an annual affair.
"Our focus really was just to get this two game series agreed to," Curley told The Fan. "I know from our end we would probably not be interested on an annual basis. It's going to be real important for us to continue to move around the country and play some intersectional games around the country and to move to our alumni bases that are spread throughout the country."
That's likely to get the Pittsburgh media hot and bothered. Those folks are going to moan almost no matter what, though. I assume most Pitt fans who understand the business of college athletics will be more than pleased with this arrangement.
We'll have plenty more in the coming days as there's frankly not much else to talk about. For now, at the very least it's nice to see a great rivalry renewed. We'll leave you with this.